Monday, January 13, 2014

Vanilla Chex Cereal Review and What the Heck is BHT?

It has been a very long time since I tried Chex cereal. Longer than I can remember, but I do have fond memories of Chex party mixes from days long ago. Even though the original Chex cereals are still on the grocery store shelves today, there are some new varieties, including the Vanilla Chex that I received some free samples of for this review.

I must point out that most of the Chex cereals have always been gluten-free – based on rice and corn – but the packages now sport a huge “Gluten Free” banner. The Vanilla Chex contains no dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, or other top allergens, but when I asked about how they were processed the response was that they made no claims about any of the other food allergens. The ingredients label does not contain an advisory warning.

On the plus side, this is a relatively low sugar cereal (compared to others you might find in the cereal aisle) with only 8 grams of sugar per serving.

One of the most surprising things about this product is that – despite being Vanilla Chex – the ingredients do not include vanilla. Instead, there is an ingredient listed as “natural flavor,” which I assume is a manufactured vanilla taste. This rice-based cereal appears to contain some plain Rice Chex as well as Rice Chex that have been coated with the flavoring. There is a distinct taste difference between the two. When I poured my hemp milk over it, the flavoring blended in. It did occur to me that I could have used vanilla hemp milk with Rice Chex to achieve the same (or an even better) taste.

My biggest concern with the cereal is a pesky ingredient called BHT. According to the label this is “added to preserve freshness.” (Yes, they really label it with those words.) So, I wondered, besides being a preservative, what the heck is BHT, really?

What I discovered

BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is an FDA-approved food additive derived from petroleum. It is used primarily to preserve fats, and it is also an antioxidant. It is sometimes used to treat herpes and AIDS. BHT may contribute to carcinogenicity and some people may have difficulty metabolizing it.

By the time I finished my cereal I wished that I had researched this ingredient before trying it. Is this is a product you would buy?


Jean | said...

Colette, BHT has been added to cold cereal packaging for many years; so I'm always careful to read the label on any cereal. I figure I get enough carcinogenic petrochemicals as it is! :D

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hbt is enbombing fluid

Juntjoo said...

I'm curious what Herbert's original comment was... "carcinogenicity"? Tho that sounds not good, I have to wonder how many edible foods you can find walking along the natural earth are carcinogenic. Anyone have an idea? "Embalming" fluid? Is that bad? Does sound preservative. Do things that preserve break down more difficultly ? I'm checking up on this cereal because after a recent successful purge of bad ingredients in my overall diet I'm able to better monitor what foods make my body say 'no' and something recently has been making me itchy and it might be this occasional bowl of only a third vanilla chex to 2/3 rice crispies. I DO believe foods that are preservative laden, the ones that leave a waxy, oily, less biodegradable artificial after-taste/feeling make my body itch and/or retain stress easier.

Anonymous said...

Are any of the other rice chex cereals gluten and dairy free?

Unknown said...

I read an article that said Vanilla Chex contains corn. Is there any truth to that?

Colette said...

Hi Kat! It's been a while since I looked at a label for Vanilla Chex. It looks like the ingredients may have changed since I reviewed this product. The current label does not appear to list corn -- however -- corn is not an ingredient that is required to be listed. The only way to know for sure is to call the company.